English Australia applauded for stance on proposed reforms

 In News

English Australia is the latest body to make public its submission to the Draft International Education and Skills Strategic Framework. In a 23 page submission, the peak body outlined its feedback to government and called for an economic impact study of the proposed changes.

English Australia characterised the government’s proposed changes under the ESOS Amendment Bill as “fundamentally misaligned with the realities of the sector” and warned of “severe negative impacts on Australia’s economy, including widespread job losses.”

The organisation strongly opposes the imposition of a cap on international enrolments, stating that such a measure would place sector-wide organisations “at financial and legal peril.”

English Australia said it continues to strongly support a free-market economy and a market led approach to achieving sustainable growth in international education.

It suggested the government instead shifts its focus to ensuring regulators are appropriately funded to enforce quality and compliance.

To ensure thorough consultation and adequate planning, English Australia is calling for the government to delay the implementation of any changes until at least January 1, 2026 so that “appropriate amendments to the Bill and Framework can be made”.

“English Australia felt it was vital that there be a meaningful and considered conversation on these dramatic changes,” said English Australia CEO, Ian Aird, on the decision to make the submission public.

“Despite the unprecedented volume and nature of the changes, the Australian federal government is recklessly rushing them through without an economic impact study and without genuine consultation with the sector,” he told The PIE News.

The Australian federal government is recklessly rushing [changes] through without an economic impact study and without genuine consultation with the sector

Ian Aird, English Australia

“Much of the strategy and Bill were developed behind closed government doors and without meaningful consultation. That’s not acceptable. Changes like these should not be forced through without a meaningful conversation with give and take.

“We hope that government aren’t so determined to ignore feedback as to do long term damage to the sector and the economy as a whole. We hope they listen and change tack urgently.”

Previously, higher education institutions and associations, including the Group of Eight and ITECA, had expressed similar concerns over the consultation process in their own submissions.

English Australia’s submission has been widely praised within the sector.

Lucas Chiusoli, vice president of Australian operations at ILSC Education Group, commended the submission, describing it as “data-driven and well-thought-out.”

“We believe the submission struck the right balance between supporting the necessary improvements in the international education sector while calling out items in the Draft Framework that need to be reconsidered,” said Chiusoli.

Chiusoli echoed many of the concerns highlighted in the submission, emphasising that the proposed changes could negatively influence students’ perception of Australia as a premier study destination.

He cautioned that the “long-term effects of such a negative impact cannot be underestimated”.

“As a proud provider of high-quality courses in both ELICOS and VET, ILSC & Greystone College approve of and support the government’s focus on the quality of services and delivery by providers.

“As such, we advocate for the regulators’ enforcement of quality and compliance across the sector.”

However, Chiusoli is urging that this is done so in a “measured and evidence-based manner, rather than a one-fits-all-approach”.

“Otherwise, this would ironically benefit dodgy providers the most, as quality providers would be negatively affected by excessive hindrance that would likely be ignored or circumvented by the dubious players,” said Chiusoli.

Meanwhile, Ian Pratt, managing director of Lexis English said that if ministers are “even remotely operating in good faith”, they must consider the implications of their actions as outlined English Australia’s submission.

“It is a gross abuse of government power to entirely derail our sector for reasons that appear more and more to be wholly about the upcoming election,” he told The PIE.

“We now have both the government and leading opposition party in an ugly bidding war for who can be seen to be hardest on immigrants, with much of their focus on international students.”

The post English Australia applauded for stance on proposed reforms appeared first on The PIE News.

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